8 Archaeological Gems of India 0

10th Oct 19
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Harshal, Indian Travel Blogger
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Archaeology is one of the essential aspects of a country’s heritage and culture. It portrays the ancient remnants of the early settlements and dynasties that flourished in the particular regions. India is one of the few nations in the world that are blessed with rich and awe-inspiring archaeological sites. From temples, caves or ruined monuments, the landscape of India resembles a crown that is studded with prominent and unparalleled gems found nowhere else on the planet.

Here are 8 must-visit archaeological sites that we have chosen for you:

1. Lothal - The Dead City of Indus Valley Civilisation (Gujarat)

Lothal

India got this incredible share of captivating remains belonging to the historic Indus Valley Civilization. Lothal, an ancient city lying in the region of modern-day Saurashtra, is one of the most iconic archaeological sites in the country. Spread over an area of 300 meters, the region is believed to be inhabited back in 3700 BCE. The last surviving remains of a notable era, it depicts the life of people as old as 4000 years in history. Known for ancient urban planning, baked brick infrastructure, magnificent drainage systems, and elegant water supply systems, it was excavated in 1954. The city is known to a dockyard or port, hosting trade of gems, beads, seals and other material as far as Africa and other parts of Asia.

2. Kumbhalgarh Fort - Home to the Second Longest Wall in the World (Rajasthan)

Kumbhalgarh Fort.jpg

Also known as the Great Wall of India, the incredible fortification of Kumbhalgarh Fort rightfully takes its place in this list. Believed to be built in the 15th-century by Rana Kumbha, its early structure dates back to the 6th-century during the Maurya empire. One of the prominent hill forts designated as a UNESCO World Heritage sites, its wall extends about 22 miles. Lying on the foothills of Aravalli mountains, the fort stands at a height of 3000 feet above sea level and is known to house about 360 temples within its boundaries. These Jain and Hindu temples are fine examples of ancient rock-cut and structural architecture. Home to the legendary Mewar Kingdom, it houses the magnificent Badal Mahal was once annexed by Mughals as well as the Khilji forces.

3. Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park (Gujarat)

Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park.jpg

Located on a height of 800 meters, Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park is a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the most prominent archaeological areas in India. Thriving near the historical city of Champaner, it is known to be perched upon one of the oldest rock formations in the country. A spellbinding sight, the entire park houses numerous ancient temples, ornate palaces, gigantic mosques, tombs, well and much more. Home to about 114 listed monuments, it is quite for its unique blend of Indo-Islamic architecture. Jami Masjid, the Kalki Mata Temple, Lakulisa Temple, and various Gates were built between the period of the 10th to 15th centuries.

4. Nalanda University - Enigmatic Ruins of World’s Most Ancient Education Centre (Bihar)

Nalanda University Ruins.jpg

One of the oldest and earliest universities in the world, the Nalanda University, and its ruins stand valiantly for about 2,500 years. Home to more than 10,000 students hailing from the countries of Tibet, China, Korea, and Central Asia, it recruited scholars and teachers from all across the globe. The most prominent center of Buddhism studies was founded during the reign of the Gupta dynasty. Destroyed by the invading armies of Bakhtiyar Khaji, the university housed a nine-storied library which is believed to be burning for continuous 6 months. Spread across the area of 30 acres, it was the ancient site providing the gift of knowledge.

5. Hampi - The legendary remnants of Vijayanagar empire (Karnataka)

Hampi Virupaksha Temple.jpg

On the banks of Tungabhadra river lies one of the most incredible archaeological sites in the world - the ruins of Hampi. A huge tourist attraction that draws millions of visitors every year, Hampi is a backpacker’s paradise to explore temples, monuments, statues, and various relics. From Hampi Bazaar to the iconic Virupaksha temple, this UNESCO World Heritage is spread over 24 sq. km. Home to some of the finest craftsmen work in India, it showcases intricately designed temple structures, pillars, gopurams and much more. The most searched historical place on Google, Hampi is the imminent destination of historical, archaeological and mythological importance.

6. Khajuraho - Iconic erotic temple structure (Madhya Pradesh)

Khajurao Temple.jpg

Located in the heart of the state of Madhya Pradesh, Khajuraho is a story narrated upon a beautiful landscape. Built during the reign of the Chandela dynasty, it is home to about 85 ancient temples out of which only 25 stands to date. Preserved by the Archaeological Survey of India, these monuments are the finest ancient Indian architectural genius. Dedicated to various Hindu deities especially Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva, these temples are famous for their sensuous sculptures. A UNESCO World Heritage site, these sandstone structures depict the elegant Nagara-style architecture.

7. The Great Living Chola Temples - The site of the longest-ruling dynasty in India (Tamil Nadu)

Chola Temples.jpg

India was home to some of the strongest and most valiant royal dynasties throughout history. The eminent Chola kingdom was one such dynasty that left behind an incredible assortment of Dravidian style temples and structures. These monuments are valuable cultural landmarks and are also listed in the UNESCO World Heritage sites. The Great Living Chola Temples draw millions of tourists every year and consist of three prominent structural temples such as the Brihadisvara Temple, the Gangaikonda Cholapuram and the Airavatesvara Temple. The sheer magnitude of this incredible artistic handiwork puts everyone in awe. Built by King Raja Raja Chola I, these temples are dedicated to Shiva, Vishnu, and Bramha and are breathtaking structures portraying the Dravidian style architecture. More than 1000 years old, these Nagara-style temple structures have gopurams in the shape of Vimanas. Remnants of the ancient Tamil civilization, this site holds a special place in the heritage of India.

8. Mahabalipuram - Ancient ruins emerged out of the ocean (Tamil Nadu)

mahabalipuram-shore-temple.jpg

The most intriguing place in the state of Tamil Nadu, Mahabalipuram is host of an incredible ancient landscape found no where else across the globe. Also known as Mamallapuram, it is a designated UNESCO World Heritage site. A frequent destination of medieval european voyagers, it shows glimpses of magnificent remnants of the Pallava dyansty. These remains stand in the form of temples, sculptures, caves, monuments and much more. From the iconic Shore temple facing the Bay of Bengal to the captivating chariot-shaped Ratha temples, Mahabalipuram has it all to fulfill the cravings of every historical and archaelogical fanatic. Host of the Modi-Xi meet of 2019, it also offers water activities like wind surfing and sea diving along with the archaeological retreat. A perfect blend of history, culture and adventure, Mamallapuram gives more memories to accommodate for a lifetime.

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